Italians and Englishmen

Mark Steyn writes on the recent murder of an Englishman:

None of us can know for certain how we would behave in his circumstances, and very few of us will ever face them. But, if I had to choose in advance the very last words I’d utter in this life, “Tony Blair has not done enough for me” would not be high up on the list. First, because it’s the all but official slogan of modern Britain, the dull rote whine of the churlish citizen invited to opine on waiting lists or public transport, and thus unworthy of the uniquely grisly situation in which Mr Bigley found himself….

By contrast with the Fleet Street-Scouser-Whitehall fiasco of the last three weeks, consider Fabrizio Quattrocchi, murdered in Iraq on April 14th. In the moment before his death, he yanked off his hood and cried defiantly, “I will show you how an Italian dies!” He ruined the movie for his killers. As a snuff video and recruitment tool, it was all but useless, so much so that the Arabic TV stations declined to show it.

Even at the very end, there is always freedom. One can choose to die piteously or one can choose to die with valor. Steyn is correct in seeing in Kenneth Bigley’s sad fate a metaphorical testimony to the decline of Britain; where is the stiff upper lip and the arrogant courage that built an empire?

I am second to none in poking fun at the Italians, especially their historical military prowess, but no one can question the strength of their national character after having been shown how an Italian chose to die.

Uno spirito indomito;

C’e solo il tuo corpo

Che si hanno rotto.